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Poster: larus Date: Oct 21, 2013 4:47am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Starting my research with questions

Renewal numbers start with 'RE'. What you've been seeing are probably not renewals but lists of multiple copyrights held by the holders.

Here is an example of a renewal (notice the RE at the beginning of the number):
Type of Work: Motion Picture
Registration Number / Date: RE0000084870 / 1981-03-02
Renewal registration for: LP0000003980 / 1954-02-19 (in notice: 1953)
Title: Executive suite. By Loew’s, Inc.
Copyright Claimant: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Film Company (PWH)
Variant title: Executive suite.
Names: Loew’s, Inc.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Film Company

Another issue is that the 1992 copyright act made renewals automatic without any need for copyright holders to file anything. As a result, the copyright for any work published after 1963 is automatically renewed.

Finally, if the film is Italian and it ever was in the public domain in the US, its copyright may have been restored by the Uruguay Rounds Agreements Act in 1996, even if the film was previously in the public domain in the US due to not having been renewed or having been published without a notice.

Requirements for renewals, registrations and the inclusion of copyright notices change depending on when the film was made, and whether it is a US or foreign production.
I advise you to take a look at http://copyrightdata.com/chart/index.php for all the factors that can come into play.

And finally, a last warning: the online database at http://www.copyright.org only contains renewals filed in 1978 or later. Earlier renewals (for works made up to 1950) can only be found in Catalog of Copyright Entries volumes published semi-annually in book form by the USCO. Scanned versions of the CCEs can be found here.

This post was modified by larus on 2013-10-21 11:47:54